Crowdsourced Erotic Fiction Novel Hits #4 On The iTunes Charts

from the features-100%-more-'beekeeper-sex'-than-the-closest-competitor dept

One of the old adages of publishing is "know your audience." In today's ultra-crowded digital markets, that adage is more important than ever. There's money to be made simply by following trends, and if you can get over any hangups about "artistic integrity," you can ride the wave until it collapses.

Much like the success of the Twilight series kicked loose a wave of imitators and revitalized young adult fiction , E.L. James' Fifty Shades of Gray trilogy (which itself began as Twilight fan fiction) has pushed the erotic fiction genre into the mainstream. This fact didn't go unnoticed by a couple of opportunists (and several accomplices), who took it upon themselves to add to the pantheon of stroke books erotic fiction with a contribution of their own. Enter Brian Brushwood and Justin Young, hosts of The NSFW Podcast.
"It all started with Scam School Book 2 – Brian’s magic book," Justin said. "He found out as he was pushing that book that the top ten in iTunes was all erotic fiction. Even to the point where established authors, like Janet Evanovich, couldn’t break into the top five of the iBooks store—because of all the erotic fiction that was capitalizing on Shades of Grey. And he thought—we could do that!"
The twist here is that Brushwood and Young didn't write a single word. The entire book is compiled from the contributions of their listeners. Held together only by the appearance of the same main character in every chapter, The Diamond Club has more in common with anthologies of Penthouse Letters (such things actually exist) and its inspiration, Naked Came the Stranger, than an actual cohesive novel. No matter. It crashed the iTunes best-seller chart, placing at #4 -- directly following the Fifty Shades of Gray trilogy.

The men behind the book claim to be trolling, but the sales seem to indicate that the book's audience stretches further than those who are in on the joke. Certainly some people aren't aware of the origin, but it's listed as erotic fiction and delivers the payload expected. Without having to spend a lot of time on character development, plot pacing or "compelling" dialogue, it likely delivers on the "erotic" side more efficiently than other books in the genre.
Justin said, "It’s a hoax in that we are not erotic fiction writers. We don't genuinely think it’s any good. But I will stand behind our product that it delivers what we believe to be the most important component in this genre: sex."

And the book does deliver. Though it has over 1,000 user reviews, only one of them calls out the hoax. "If you look at it, right now," Justin said, "There’s only one comment that says it’s a joke. One review says: Don’t pay money for this. It’s what they want."
Some may see this as yet another indicator of how opening ebooks to the masses is going to result in piles of lousy writing popping up everywhere. Maybe so, but I just can't see it as being solely a bad thing. If the customers are happy with their purchases, it doesn't seem to be much of a problem. The advantage here is a ridiculously short turnaround time that would be nearly impossible to emulate running through a second party, which allowed The Diamond Club to take full advantage of a trend before the audience moved on.

The other big takeaway from this? Another new way to connect with your fans, which springs out of the duo's understanding of both their core podcast audience and the ongoing disruption in content creation:
Users are the content creators today – so they made the listeners of their podcast the authors.
Nothing builds loyalty like including your fans in the creative process, and nothing builds word-of-mouth faster than loyal fans.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Rikuo (profile), Aug 8th, 2012 @ 4:20am

    And of course, copyright laws, if followed, would not allow something like this to exist. Who is considered the copyright holder? The people with their names on the cover? They've just admitted they didn't write a single line. How do you split up the copyrights over so many authors like this? How do you determine royalties?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    Vidiot (profile), Aug 8th, 2012 @ 4:51am

    The Tom Sawyer business model

    "... who took it upon themselves to add to the pantheon of stroke books with a contribution of their own."

    Clearly, a stroke of genius.
    A business model that can't be beat.
    Yank-ee ingenuity.

    (Anybody else?)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    icon
    harbingerofdoom (profile), Aug 8th, 2012 @ 5:18am

    Re: The Tom Sawyer business model

    hope you are pleasuring yourself with that incredibly bad run of puns there

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    icon
    Machin Shin (profile), Aug 8th, 2012 @ 5:33am

    "One review says: Donít pay money for this. Itís what they want."

    I agree with this logic. We all should stop buying things, after all "It's what they want"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
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    Argonel (profile), Aug 8th, 2012 @ 5:54am

    Re:

    Copyrights were probably assigned to the "Authors" and as far as I know all of the material was donated to create the book so there is no provision for royalties to be paid. The whole thing was a collosal and apparently profitable joke.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2012 @ 6:01am

    Re:

    Right... because this is the first time a book has been written with more than one author.

    I do believe you are missing the point of this whole article.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    icon
    BentFranklin (profile), Aug 8th, 2012 @ 6:29am

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2012 @ 6:30am

    Re: Re:

    If this were 10 years ago, the phrase "Laughing all the way to the bank" would be an appropriate response to the "profitable joke" comment... except that nobody really goes physically to a bank these days...especially not for E-book profits.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2012 @ 6:55am

    Re: Re:

    According to the NSFW Show's Justin Robert Young on TWIT #365 this week the original plan was to use the meager proceeds expected for a $0.99 book to throw a party at Dragon con. Now they are planning to do something bigger and give the creators some other benefits.

    JRY also wrote the first chapter from what he said on TWIT.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2012 @ 6:55am

    Re: Re:

    According to the NSFW Show's Justin Robert Young on TWIT #365 this week the original plan was to use the meager proceeds expected for a $0.99 book to throw a party at Dragon con. Now they are planning to do something bigger and give the creators some other benefits.

    JRY also wrote the first chapter from what he said on TWIT.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Aug 8th, 2012 @ 7:38am

    Re: Re: The Tom Sawyer business model

    You really whacked him around, huh?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2012 @ 7:53am

    Actually, this looks not so much like any great example of how open the e-book market is, rather it's more a question of a group of people who worked something for the lulz, and got some happy online marketing.

    It's also an indication of how really weak the e-book market much be if this can make it to number 4.

    My suggestion? Look again in a week. If they are completely gone from the charts, then you know it wasn't anything other than a nasty hoax with some mislead buyers shoved in the door.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
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    The eejit (profile), Aug 8th, 2012 @ 8:22am

    Re:

    And you say this like that can't happen elsewhere. Hint: it did.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Amberlight, Aug 8th, 2012 @ 9:26am

    Re:

    That's the thing, all of the writers agreed beforehand that they would not take any credit. Each story was written anonymously. We didn't write them for money or for charity, we wrote to take part in a podcast we love. I think I speak for many of the viewers of NSFW when I say that I don't care what they do with the money, I would just like it to go towards making more shows and including more audience participation in the future. That is what the show is about.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
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    weneedhelp (profile), Aug 8th, 2012 @ 12:33pm

    Judging by tv

    "ebooks to the masses is going to result in piles of lousy writing popping up everywhere."

    If crap is what they want. Seriously, in their opinion, it is crap, but the numbers dont lie. People want it.

    To plenty of others it is not crap and they will spend their money on it.

    Just because you think somethings crap does not make it so.

    God, that argument is so annoying.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2012 @ 1:17pm

    Re:

    "Captain, maybe we oughtta turn on the search lights now."

    "No. That's just what they will be expecting us to do."

    -- Airplane! Movie

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    pixelation, Aug 8th, 2012 @ 1:26pm

    play on words?

    "...and delivers the payload expected."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2012 @ 2:44pm

    Re:

    You want a good laugh go search YouTube for Chinese butt gun. It was in the related to a Leo and Satan video rofl. I could not help myself I had to click it even if it was going to kill me.

    All I can think of is YTMND and how perfect that would be rofl.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Christine, Aug 10th, 2012 @ 5:49am

    A New SubGenre?

    Since the first erotic cave drawings, humans have used the technology available to them to express sexuality. As a sex educator I thought crowdsourced erotica was only a matter of time, which was why two weeks ago I launched a Kickstarter declaring "the world's first erotic fiction novel" - I love that the technology moves so fast that the month-long campaign is outdated half way through!

    I predict we are going to see the birth of a new subgenre of erotic fiction - fantasy birthed not out of one author's fantasy but out of the fertile collective of human eroticism itself!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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